Unashamedly intimate, Tonight Alive’s Underworld marks a colourful progression for the Sydney four-piece.
In their decade long career, Tonight Alive have experimented with a lot of different facets of their sound, yet it’s with the release of their fourth full-length Underworld that authenticity shines its brightest, and the group finally feel rightfully in their element.
Coalescing drums kicks off ‘Book Of Love’ as Jenna McDougall rations her notes across the primary hook backed by vivid, colourful guitar riffs. ‘Disappear’ has subtle backing vocals from Lynn Gunn of Pvris fame that plays off McDougall’s chemistry quite effectively, adding the track a sense of romance to it.
Though potentially, Jenna’s at her best when she comes out swinging, most notably during the chorus of anthem powerhouse ‘Crack My Heart’, while ‘The Other’ has a nice, bouncy rhythm as McDougall staggers her powerful vocals across the chorus.
Underworld almost seems like a Limitless counterpart in the sense. Sonically brighter, but tonally and lyrically, Underworld gets pretty dark. ‘Waiting For The End’ champions the idea of participating in everyday life instead of watching it pass you by that honestly doesn’t sit out of place next to ‘Looking For Heaven’ – a smooth piano ballad that forgoes the idea of trying to achieve personal perfection.
McDougall also pairs with none other than Corey Taylor as part of the chorus heavy ‘My Underworld’, making for an incredibly effective sing-along closer. The Sydney four-piece has come a long way from their pop punk beginnings. While Limitless was about taking advantage of your potential, Underworld is about confronting your demons and shortcomings in hopes of personal growth.
There’s arguably a little less gloss on the framework of Underworld, but with this missing, Tonight Alive are forced to challenge themselves into new creative directions. Not only is the end result gutsier and more confident, but also certainly feels like a more organic sounding record as a result.
Dre’s Top Three:
- The Other
- Crack My Heart
- Waiting For The End